What I Been Up To (Since Last Fall)

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A lot of stuff, it would seem. First there’s what I’m supposed to be doing, which is trying to find a publisher for Luz at Midnight, a novel I’m FINALLY done revising (for now).

But then there’s what I’m actually doing, which is everything else. At some point I was going to write separate entries for these, but then time went by and I achieved a certain level of accumulation. So instead I’m writing one project-dumping post. What’ve I been up to?

1. Gestating, and writing about it: our baby, Wolfgang Isidro Harman-Cortez, arrived earthside on February 4 of this year. He is amazing. He is sleeping right now. After his birth, I realized I’d amassed a small booklet’s worth of writing on my reproductive adventures of the last 12 years, so I started assembling it into a zine-type publication I’m calling The Book of Xochitl and Wolfgang. My plan is to finish by this fall so I can make it available at a couple local bookfests: the Pachanga de Palabras in September and San Antonio Zine Fest in October.  Gonna table (my first time!) with lil X who wants to sell her artwork.

2. Last November, my partner Greg and I were invited to take part in an interview for Big Planet, Big Feels, a smart new podcast by NorCal environmental humanists Sarah Jaquette Ray and Madi Whaley which looks at the affective dimensions of climate change adaptation. I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t yet listened back to our interview, in part cuz of #1 above, in part because it’s hard to listen back to your voice recorded… but Ray and Whaley are brilliant thinker/feeler/scholar-activists, so if you land on their site, linger awhile and check out other episodes as well. 

3. In January, had a short piece published in The Anxiety Chronicles, an online series in The Lily,  WaPo’s women-centered publication. I’d seen The Anxiety Chronicles come up in my newsreader app before, so when I saw they were soliciting submissions, I jumped at the chance to sing my longtime weirdness to the world, in the hopes it might help someone out there have a little less mad shame, a little more mad pride. 

4. In April I had the opportunity to read alongside some amazing fucking writers at Mega Corazon, which URBAN-15 produces for National Poetry Month. I’m at 28:03 in the video below, but check out the rest of the video for the best of SA spoken word. The event includes a youth-oriented segment which I’ve posted below as well.

5. I’ve continued to work on the Hidden Histories series, also produced by URBAN-15, this year as its Humanities Advisor. Last year I did the “Hidden Houses” episode, and this year I put together an episode about the history of special education in San Antonio, in part based on oral history interviews with my parents (who were both special ed teachers in the 1970s, when federal laws were passed requiring schools to serve all children regardless of ability). Check out “Special San Antonio: Unsung Stories of Educational Inclusion” here.

6. Via our work at Deceleration, Greg and I were approached by a couple folks here to cover some of the political controversy surrounding efforts to “mitigate” egret and heron rookeries in SA parks. Read Part I of “In Praise of Nuisance Heronries” here and Part II here

7. With Luz revisions finally done, some of the new work I’m doing involves DIY publication of a couple of chapbooks I’ve been sitting on. I mentioned The Book of Xochitl and Wolfgang. The other project I’m really excited about is a collaboration with local printmaker Léo Lee on a chapbook of poems, I Call on the Earth, which I wrote as I was interviewing folks for the report we did on the displacement of Mission Trails Mobile Home Community.  When we’re finished, I’d like to use the book to raise funds for ongoing anti-displacement/gentrification work.

Oh, but did I mention I’m looking for a publisher for Luz at Midnight? If you have suggestions for small presses looking for a cross-genre, environmental love story featuring a cosmic dog born in a lightning storm in Brackenridge Park…send em my way. 

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